Regenerative medicine refers to methods that aim to replace or regenerate cells, tissues or organs in order to restore or establish normal function. This can include a range of techniques often using cells from the body to stimulate healing. At Cedarmount we are always trying to embrace the latest advances in veterinary medicine and strongly believe in the potential benefits regenerative medicine could have in the treatment of many conditions in our pets.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP utilises special cells found in blood to promote healing. It is a minimally invasive, single day procedure performed under sedation or general anaesthesia. As it uses your dog’s own blood the risk of adverse reactions are very small. PRP can be used alongside other treatments to maximise the benefits to your dog.
What are platelets?
Platelets are found in blood and are an essential part of the clotting process. They contain a variety of growth factors* that enhance wound healing and induce tissue regeneration.
*Examples include: Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF); Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta); Epidermal growth factor (EGF); Insulin-like growth factor (IGF); Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF).
PRP is produced by concentrating platelets (PLT) and their associated growth factors from a small volume of your pet’s own blood for use as cell therapy.
How can PRP help?
Tendon and ligament injuries, and joint disease like osteoarthritis, are often difficult to heal, but treatment with PRP can help. Cell therapy is injected directly into the injured area. Platelets are activated at the site of injury, releasing growth factors.
Lab tests have shown that these growth factors play a key role in regenerating and revascularising tissue. This accelerates healing and reduces recovery times.
Talk to us if you think your pet might benefit from this excellent technique.
Stem Cell Therapy
What are Stem Cells and what do they do?
Stem Cell Therapy is a new and exciting treatment modality for veterinary, and human medicine. Stem cells are cells in the body that have the potential to change into other cell types. In reality this is not exactly what happens when we inject stem cells into the body, instead they but help to trigger a chain reaction of chemicals called growth factors that can result in many benefits in the area we are treating.
Stem cell treatment can provide long lasting benefits in osteoarthritis, reducing inflammatory changes in the joint, which results in better mobility with less pain. High quality studies have now shown this benefit to last at least 12 months in many patients.
Stem cells can also be used to help stimulate healing of other damaged tissues, especially tendons and muscle.
Where do Stem Cells come from?
There are small numbers of stem cells in different parts of the adult body, and they are also found in umbilical blood. In order to get enough stem cells to do any good, various processes have been developed.
- Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell. A new licensed product is now available providing a ready-to-use injection of stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs. These cells are collected from equine umbilical blood but the cells have been processed to allow use in our canine patients. This product greatly simplifies the process as we just have to inject the stem cell product into the affected joints. This product must be ordered specially for each procedure as it have a very short shelf life.
- Adipose derived stem cells. This is one of the most widely studied areas in veterinary medicine. An amount of adipose tissue (fat) is removed surgically from the abdomen of the patient. This fat is then sent to a specialised lab who separate out the stem cells and multiply them until there is enough to be used for treatment. These are then sent back to the practice who can inject them into the area needed. This process requires 2 anaesthetics and 2-3 weeks for concentration of the stem cells.
- Bone Marrow Derived stem cells. Under general anaesthesia we can remove an amount of bone marrow and blood from one of the larger bones of your dog, usually the femur, humerus or pelvis. This combination of bone marrow and blood is then processed in a special centrifuge to provide a volume of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) with mesenchymal stem cells. Although the number of stem cells will be lower, and less certain, than adipose derived stem cells, there are benefits of using PRP as well. PRP also contains beneficial growth factors and is often used on its own to provide similar effects to stem cells and can be obtained from a blood collection. The bone marrow collection, preparation of the final product and treatment of the area/s involved can all be performed under one day procedure.
Will it help?
Studies have shown improvement in many dogs with osteoarthritis with these treatments. Improvement takes time, often 2-3 months, but can be long lasting with improvements for over 12 months. Other supportive therapies are useful alongside the regenerative medicine treatments. Like all treatments for these painful conditions however, the response is variable, and not all dogs will see a benefit, but the risks and side effects of treatment are very low.
At Cedarmount we are pleased to offer PRP and Stem Cell treatment for dogs using the new licensed stem cell product or bone marrow derived stem cells. As these are specialised techniques please contact us for more information and for pricing.
Not all insurance companies cover stem cell treatment currently so please check your policy wording carefully or ask your insurer for details.